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Extracts front the Dratber of Our What-not.
same disregard of money in an attempt to seduce that friend's wife or daughter. No man ever sacrificed the half of his estate for friendship, on a sudden, instinctive, constitutional impulse of temperament. Such an act could only have heen performed by a generous man. And, although a generous man may commit a wicked action, he is less inclined to do so, we think, than an ungenerous man, more especially an action of consummate baseness and deliberate cruelty. The illustration is striking, but it is not satisfying, and shows the advocate, not the judge. Finally, to assert that all the evil produced by Hobbes and the whole school of materialists will appear inconsiderable, if it be compared with the mischief effected and occasioned by the sentimental philosophy of Sterne, and his numerous imitators, is altogether monstrous, and in the direct teeth of a hundred of Mr Coleridge's moral speculations in the ' Friend,'and his ' Lay Sermons,' in which he has, with considerable force, struck at the root of the selfish system of the Philosopher of Malmsbury. A few fantastic and mawkish novels — what were they to the host—not yet extinct— of hard-featured wretches, who, in the name of morality, have laboured to destroy all moral responsibility, and to found duty on power? But we cannot help thinking that, had Mr Coleridge taken a more philosophical view of the constitution of our nature, he would have seen that the term Sensibility does, in its best and truest signification, denote one great constituent of our being, by which we are capable of being affected in various and sometimes extraordinary degrees of pleasure and pain, and with various and sometimes extraordinary degrees of will and desire, by different objects made known to us by our powers of understanding. It denotes a capacity, by which we arc susceptible of suffering and misery, by which the whole variety and strength of our moral nature is unfolded, and from which our intellectual reason draws its amplest and most precious stores. It is open to the impression of all the objects which the world may offer it. These present themselves, and the emotion arises, making to the mind disclosure of itself, bringing out to its sight, with visible force and strong undoubted reality, powers which lie there often unknown, and always unmeasured till
the very act shows them forth in their native shape and proper dimensions. From this first strong movement, which, however, is not single, but may spread itself in great diversity of forms through the mind — from this first passive sway of emotion, the mind returns, and rises up in its strength to act on the object, either with power of will and desire to escape from it, or with power of will and desire to possess and enjoy it. This power of feeling, of will, or of desire, is thus far no otherwise dependent on the intellectual mind than as the intellectual faculties mix in all its acts—conceiving and understanding the object, conceiving and understanding the means to pursue or to fly from it. They act perfectly, and with great subtlety and force, but in mere subservience to passion—as a part of it, but separable from it.
In all passion, we find two states perfectly distinct fron each other— the emotion arising from contemplation of the object, which is an affection of pleasure and pain, and in which the mind may be passive merely; and, arising out of this, the movement of the mind to or from the object. There is also a third state, intimately connected with this last, and yet differing from it—the state of the will.
The first point, then, is the susceptibility of impression and emotion. In some minds, this exists to a great extent, without producing strong exertion of the will. It is then properly called Sensibility, which regards simply the capacity of being strongly and deeply affected. However, Sensibility itself may be of very different characters; as it may be quick and vivid, but transient; or its affections may be more calm, but deep and fixed. The susceptibility of great exhilaration of heart, for example, or of sudden and passionate sorrow, is found under the first character. Under the second, deep and steadfast joy, which sustains in the mind no more, perhaps, than a calm bright serenity, and yet implies, not a tranquil indisposition to be affected, but an extreme and fine sensibility to pleasure. On the other hand, the same temper of mind may produce a settled and enduring melancholy. This is the first affection in which the mind is nearly passive.
Now, though we may regard those impressions on the Sensibility as given merely in order to prepare and lead 138
Extracts from the Drawer of Our What-not.
on those movements of the will through which the mind is carried into action, which may be conceived as the ultimate purpose and proper end of those affections of pleasure and pain—yet, if the emotion should not reach to will, we by no means necessarily esteem this falling short of its seemingly desired end, as a defect in the working of the mind. On the contrary, the affections of the Sensibility are often very touching to us to contemplate, or beautiful, majestic, and sublime, when they reach not to the production of any purpose in the will j—as the sorrow which is felt for those who mourn, when our sympathy can offer them nothing but its sorrow ;—as the grief of those who mourn the loss of that which they have loved, when their piety restrains all impatient murmuring at their own privation, and all vain longing towards that which is gone. Their grief, in its simplicity, is most affecting and beautiful. So the happiness of children, on whom joy falls like the sunshine, and passes away. Such, too, is the admiration we feel for characters of greatness, who, in the humility of our reverence, seem to us lifted up far above our imitation. In those instances, and numberless others that might be supposed, all that we see is, the first simple emotion strongly declared in the soul, but not passing on to the effects that naturally and properly arise out of the primary feeling.
We have not room now to say more on this subject; but the little we have said may, perhaps, serve to show, that in his vituperation of Sensibility, Mr Coleridge has either confined his consideration to the popular, and, we might say, vulgar meaning of the term; or that, if he had in his mind any reference to its proper and philosophical meaning, his invective betrays a very imperfect knowledge of the essence and agency of this part of the constitution of our nature.
It would likewise appear, from the sneer at Sympathy in the long passage now quoted, as well as from other more direct allusions elsewhere, that Mr Coleridge held very cheap the moral system of Adam Smith. But we suspect that, notwithstanding his too frequent expressions of slight towards what he and others of his school are pleased to call the Scotch Philosophy, neither he nor they are
masters of the most important tenets of any of our metaphysical moralists.
Sympathy is supposed by Dr Smith to act towards the production of Moral Sentiment in three ways:—First, by enabling us to judge others, viz by
enabling us to put ourselves in the place of others, and thus to compare their conduct with what ours would be j upon which comparison we approve or condemn. Secondly, by enabling us to conceive the judgment which others make of us. Thirdly, by participation in the gratitude and resentment of those who are benefited or injured either by ourselves or others. On the first of these views, an observation of a simple kind suggests itself, and has been made. If sympathy did no more towards tho production of moral sentiment than to enable us to judge others by taking their place, it might be said that the doctrine would contain nothing at variance with any other theory of morality; since sympathy would then do no more than place us in the necessary situation for forming the judgment. The cause of our judgment would still have to bo shown. When we imagine ourselves in the place of another, and conceive how we shouid act, and approve or condemn him accordingly, there must be some principle in our mind, not only determining our conception of how we should act, but determining also our satisfaction in that conception, and this must be already a moral principle. This is the argument of Mr Stewart and Dr Brown, and would probably occur to many other enquirers, as it is not unobvious. It does not appear, however, on further consideration, entirely satisfactory.
The object of Dr Smith is to set aside the idea of an independent, original, moral principle, by showing that it is made up in many different ways; but ho has not himself explained, as distinctly as he might have done, the part which Sympathy takes, under bis first head, in superseding an original principle. To understand him consistently, we must explain the first point of his doctrine for ourselves. Thus :—
When I place myself in the situation of another, and, conceiving my own conduct, find it to be in some essential point at variance with his, I feel a pain in the contemplation of his act. Now, this is not necessarily a pain of moral condemnation, but a pain of repugnance and aversion. My own imaginary mode of action is grateful and satisfying to me; not originally (according to Dr Smith's theory) by my understanding of moral right in it, but by the strong natural affection, which, in my conceived situation, would, I must suppose, carry me to act in the manner I now conceive, with earnest desire and lively pleasure. It is the opposition of this man's act, and, it is to be presumed, along with his act, his temper, to this my affection, that is the cause of my pain in the first instance, and, in the next, of my aversion towards himself. This pain and dislike are not properly, in their origin, moral sentiment, but natural feelmg. They arc of the same kind, although, with respect to subjects of a higher order, as that pain and dislike with which we consider men, savages for instance, whose manner of living is loathsomo to us. There is, in this last case, no place for moral condemnation; nothing but a strong, and indeed an invincible natural aversion. Now, according to Smith's theory, it is this natural pain and dislike with which wo look upon acts and states of mind, contradicting strong inherent feelings of our own, that is meant to be represented to us as one of those elements, not originally, nor in themselves properly speaking moral, but which enter into and make up that variously-compounded feeling, or rather system of feelings, to which, when completed, we give the name of moral sense, or conscience.
Two things arewery certain, with respect to the point of theory we have now been endeavouring to explain:— The first, that the natural feeling of which we have spoken does take place'; the other, that, on the whole, this natural feeling agrees with, strengthens and supports our moral judgment. The question is, whether we have, in the cases in which such a feeling must be acknowledged, besides this feeling, a distinct and peculiar principle of moral j udgment. Grounds for the opinion that we have, are ;—first, that there is one element of all moral judgment, which it appears not easy to deduce from such a feeling, namely, condemnation. We may find in it the grounds of dislike, disgust, abhorrence, separation, rejection, exclusion, anger, scorn, hatred; but the distinct and peculiar idea of right violated and consequent condemnation
— ideas evidently inseparable from an adverse judgment—and which, in fact, after all these adjunctive ideas of passion have been separated from it, remain as its essence—are not included in such a feeling, nor appear to be in any way deducible from it. Secondly, that it appears possible for us to entertain moral judgments in direct opposition to the force of all such our natural feelings; as, when we are occasionally called on to judge of acts which we feel it to have been impossible that we ourselves should have performed, which we do not contemplate without repugnance and fear, and which we are nevertheless compelled, even with dislike, to acknowledge to have been right, as we might possibly conceive a case of a father delivering up his son to justice. In like manner, on the other hand, our conscience will occasionally constrain us to condemn acts which we cannot say that we ourselves, in the same situation, should not have done; acts indicating no feelings which we do not recognise in ourselves, and with which by nature we are not strongly inclined to sympathize. Both these reasons appear to establish a decided distinction between our natural affections and our feelings, however strong, and our moral principle. This part of Dr Smith's argument, therefore, may be considered and answered in either of two ways.—Either, with Mr Stewart and Dr Brown, we may conceive him to have meant, that, having by sympathy'placed ourselves in the situation of another, and found that our conduct would coincide with, or differ from his, we therefore morally approve or condemn him— in which case, there is the logical defect in the argument which these writers suppose, namely, that it presupposes the principle which it undertakes to deduce, and represents that as causing the judgment which merely places us in the situation for exercising it: Or it may be understood in the way in which we have now attempted to explain it, and it then seems to be liable to the two objections which we have made. We are inclined to think that Dr Smith has not treated this point so explicitly as to enable us to say with certainty which of the two views really represents his opinion. It is possible that he might not have examined it so closely as to make up his opinion with perfect distinctness 140 Coronation Ode for
upon it. He may have even fluctuated between the two views. The theory of a writer is not always to be tried merely by the words in which ho has given it. His book cannot contain all his thoughts. Nor is it, finally, to bo considered altogether and merelyas personal to him:—It is a suggestion in philosophy; and it is allowable to philosophy to complete, in a specious
Queen Victoria I. [July, 1838.theory, what has been imperfectly presented to its author, previously to trying it. Admitting what has been said, the question arises (which we cannot now discuss), whether this dislike is to be acknowledged as an element of a composite moral sense, or only as one of the supports, of which there are many, of native conscience.
CORONATION ODE FOR QUEEN VICTORIA I.
June 28, 1838.
The Sceptre in a maiden-hand,
Rule, Victoria, rule the Free;
Hearts and hands we offer Thee.
Not by the tyrant-law of might,
Rule, Victoria, rule the Free;Heaven defend and prosper Thee!
Thee isles and continents obey, Kindreds and nations, nigh and far, Between the bound-marks of thy
sway The Morning and the Evening Star.— Rule, Vwtoria, rule the Free, Millions rest their hopes on Thee.
No Slave within thine empire breathe,
The meek dominion of thine eye
Rule, Victoria, rule the Free,
With Mercy's beams yet more benign,
Rule, Victoria, rule the Free,
At home, abroad, by sea, on shore,
Edmburgh , Printed by Bullantyne and Company, PuuFs Work,
No. CCLXXIV. AUGUST, 1838.
ARNOLD 8 HISTORY OF ROME.
The history of Rome will remain, to the latest age of the world, the most attractive, the most useful, and the most elevating subject of human contemplation. It must ever form the basis of a liberal and enlightened education; it must ever present the most important object to the contemplation of the statesman; it must ever exhibit the most heart-stirring record to the heart of the soldier. Modern civilisation, the arts and the arms, the freedom and the institutions of Europe around us are the bequest of the Roman legions. The roads which we travel are, in many places, those which these indomitablepioneers of civilisation first cleared through the wilderness of nature; the language which we speak is more than half derived from Roman words; the laws by which we are protected have found their purest fountains in the treasures of Roman jurisprudence; the ideas in which we glory are to be found traced out in the fire of young conception in the Roman writers. In vain does the superficial acquirement, or shallow variety, of modern liberalism seek to throw off the weight of obligation to the grandeur or virtue of antiquity; in vain are we told that useful knowledge is alone worthy of cultivation, that ancient fables have gone past,
and that the study of physical science should supersede that of the Greek or Roman authors. Experience, the great detector of error, is perpetually recalling to our minds the inestimable importance of Roman history. The more that our institutions become liberalised, the more rapid the strides which democracy makes amongst us, the more closely do we cling to the annals of a state which underwent exactly the same changes, and suffered the consequences of the same convulsions; and the more that we experience the insecurity, the selfishness, and the rapacity of democratic ambition, the more highly do we come to appreciate the condensed wisdom with which the great historians of antiquity, by a word or an epithet, stamped its character, or revealed its tendency.
There is something solemn, and evidently providential, m the unbroken advance and ultimate boundless dominion of Rome. The history of other nations corresponds nearly to the vicissitudes of prosperity and disaster, of good and evil fortune, which we observe in the nations of the world at this time. The brilliant meteor of Athenian greatness disappeared from the world almost as soon as the bloody phantasmagoria of the French Revolution. In half-a-century after they
History of Rome. By Thomas Arnold, D.D., Head Master of Rugby School; late Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford; and Member of the Archaeological Society of Rome, London: B. Fellowes. 1838.
VOL. XLIV. NO. CCLXXIV. K